The vision Brophy College Preparatory leaders and key community donors had for a vital middle school program are bearing its first concrete fruits.
TAX CREDIT HELP, BUT LOCAL INSTITUTIONS AREN’T LOOKING AT VOUCHERS AS A BOON
Johan Santiesteban still remembers the first time he heard about Brophy College Preparatory. One of the school’s teachers visited Santiesteban’s junior high school and told the kids about the benefits the school had to offer. “The school seemed perfect,” said Santiesteban. “I learned more about it, the programs they had, heard about the teachers. So I said, ‘Maybe I’ll apply.’” But Santiesteban ran into a problem that can be a common one among students applying to Brophy: the expensive cost of tuition.
With their hefty tuition, Arizona’s elite Catholic high schools struggle with a reputation of educating only rich students. But officials at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix and Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson say the state’s private school tax credit program has opened their doors to everyone.
We’ve been reading with interest recent news focused on Arizona tax credit programs. The Brophy Community Foundation and several school tuition organizations in Arizona have administered this critical K-12 educational funding in the spirit of the law’s original intent since implementation in 1997.
Now that the political rhetoric and election drama is over, let's get down to what we as individuals and corporations can do, right now, to help move the needle on making quality education accessible for all kids in Arizona. In 2000, our state leaders wisely implemented legislation allowing school-tuition organizations, enabling non-profit, private organizations to collect donations for tuition at qualified private schools. Two years later they passed legislation allowing tax credits for donations to public schools. These two milestones are a testament to the innovativeness of our political leaders, yet they net too few participants.
Since 1998, scholarship organizations have awarded nearly $600 million to Arizona students.
When Blanca Fuentes-Pholyotin was a little girl, her father told her to value education above all else. Although a captain in the Mexican army before he immigrated, in the United States he worked at a garbage-disposal center. "He told us the more knowledge you have, the better off you will be," said Fuentes-Pholyotin, a health technician at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix. Fuentes-Pholyotin's father died young, leaving his 18-year-old daughter to care for her mother and five siblings. Not able to go to college, she joined the American armed services. While Fuentes-Pholyotin is grateful for the opportunities that being in the military afforded her, her dream for her five children is that they get a college education. And she believes her oldest son, Miguel Cordova, is on his way to doing that, thanks to Loyola Academy.